Unintentional weight loss, or “unexplained weight loss,” refers to a significant reduction in body mass that has no known cause. A symptom of cancer or diabetes is sudden and unexplained weight loss. Treatment includes determining the root reason for the weight loss.
Unexpected weight loss can be a symptom of a number of different medical issues. Paying close attention to any other symptoms can help a doctor in determining the reason.
Unusual weight loss could be caused by any of the following issues or conditions.
- Issues involving the thyroid
Rapid weight reduction is possible with an overactive thyroid, despite the persistent hunger that comes with it. When you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland produces an abnormally high amount of the hormone thyroxine. It can speed up your metabolic rate to dangerous levels.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
What kinds of changes might you expect to see in your weight if you’re dealing with an inflammatory condition? Having a sudden loss of appetite, which may be the result of an infection, is the more noticeable symptom. The underlying cause of malnutrition is subtler; it is caused by intestinal inflammation, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- Disorders of the digestive tract
Next, appetite suppression can result from gastrointestinal problems affecting ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the satiety hormone). Some instances are:
- Colon inflammation (ulcerative colitis)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Condition of Crohn’s
- You’re struggling with depression.
Changes in body mass can be a symptom of mental distress, stress, or depression. Depression is associated with a loss of appetite, hence, leading to unexplained weight loss if you aren’t aware that your mood swings are indicative of a more serious underlying condition.
- Possible pancreatitis
The pancreas is responsible for producing digestive enzymes. Problems with this organ can potentially cause unexpected weight loss. People with chronic pancreatitis, a disorder in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, typically lose weight rapidly (even if they are eating normally) because their bodies don’t create enough enzymes for appropriate digestion of food to occur.
Tumors in the colon and bowels can create inflammation and absorption problems, which in turn influence hunger and the way the body uses the food it eats. “Wasting away” is a common symptom among cancer patients since the disease causes abnormal cell development, which eventually replaces healthy cells.
People with diabetes typically feel thirsty and urinate more frequently because their bodies can’t absorb glucose as well, causing them to lose a lot of water. One of the ways that diabetes causes severe weight loss is by causing muscle atrophy.
A person’s metabolism can be increased or suppressed by medications prescribed for the treatment of specific diseases or disorders. Following are a few examples:
- Meds used in chemotherapy
- Drugs for type 2 diabetes
If you notice that you are losing weight or that your appetite is decreasing while taking a new medicine, you should discuss this with your doctor.
Tuberculosis (TB), a contagious disease that most often affects the lungs, is another possibility for sudden weight loss with no other obvious causes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent. Important signs of tuberculosis include losing weight and eating less, but the underlying causes are unknown.
Lung tuberculosis is airborne and easily spreads. There is a chance of contracting tuberculosis without really being sick. Additionally, the germs will become dormant if your immune system is strong enough to combat them. Having TB dormant in your body is referred to as latent TB.
When this happens, the body’s immune system begins attacking its own tissues and organs. It can make it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients from food, which may lead to weight loss. You may feel exhausted, with sore or tight joints. As a secondary symptom, many people get butterfly-shape rashes on their faces. Treatment from your doctor may include alterations to your food and way of life in order to alleviate these symptoms.
- Muscle loss
Muscle wasting can cause a person to lose weight without trying. Weak muscles are the most prominent sign. It is possible that one of your limbs appears to be noticeably shorter than the other.
Fat tissue and lean tissue like muscle, bone, and water make up your body. Muscle mass contributes to your body’s metabolic rate, so if you lose muscle, you will also lose weight.
The muscles can shrink if they aren’t used regularly. People who don’t get much physical activity, have sedentary employment, or spend a lot of time in bed are at higher risk. In most cases, muscle loss can be stop by engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.
When to See a Doctor
If any of the following apply, it might be time to contact a doctor about your weight loss:
- Over the course of 6-12 months, you’ve lost more than 5% of your body weight or 10 pounds.
- As a person over the age of 50 with preexisting health issues,
- You’ve got more than just unexplained weight loss going on here.
Your weight fluctuation is quite natural. If you are losing weight but not altering your eating or activity levels, though, something may be wrong.
See a top General Physician if you lose 5 percent of your body weight in 6-12 months, or if you develop any of the above symptoms.
- Should You be concerned about any unexplained weight loss?
The scales on your body may move up and down on a frequent basis. However, losing more than 5% of your body weight without trying to do so is usually cause for concern and should be addressed within 6-12 months.
- What does sudden, excessive weight loss suggest?
An overabundance of the hormones produced by the thyroid, which controls the body’s metabolism, can lead to increased energy expenditure. Although, expending more vitality and calories than you take in can cause sudden and unexpected weight reduction.
- What happens if you lose too much weight?
When you lose weight rapidly, you run the danger of experiencing a variety of negative consequences, such as muscle wasting, a slowed metabolism, vitamin deficiencies, gallstones, and so on. This is especially the case if you attempt a rapid weight loss program without the supervision of a medical expert.